Big Pharma started 2015 with the news that two U.S. courts consolidated groups of Xarelto lawsuits that claim the blood thinner caused severe bleeding, some of which caused drug recipients to die.
An oral blood thinner developed and sold by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Xarelto (rivaroxaban), hit the U.S. market in July 2011 and quickly grew into a popular alternative to an older medication, warfarin. The drug’s makers marketed the drug as superior to warfarin.
Unlike warfarin, Xarelto has no dietary restrictions or blood tests but causes more gastrointestinal bleeds. This excessive bleeding led to serious complications, and patients and families soon turned to litigation as compensation for damages.
The first consolidation order came in December 2014 when the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict District Litigation (JPML) transferred about two dozen cases in Louisiana federal court. The defendants, drug giants Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit, claim there were not enough similarities to go ahead with the order, but the panel disagreed.